Wednesday, March 2, 2011

When Your Wide Load Isn’t a Mack Truck

Roasted Maple Sweet Potatoes, left, are a healthy alternative to a sugary snack. Photo from Eating Well.


you noticed recently that your front or backside needs a yellow banner that reads WATCH OUT WIDE LOAD!?

Then ask yourself, "How the heck did this happen to me?"

In “The End of Overeating,” David A. Kessler, MD asserts that most consumers suffer from what’s called a “bliss point.” This is where they get the greatest pleasure from combinations of sugar, fat and salt. We are bombarded with food cues every minute of the day. They condition us to constantly want to feed ourselves.

The best antidote for wide loads is a good balance of proper diet and exercise. Photo from Mack Trucks.

Every time I walk down a street these days some fastfood restaurant, bakery or some other tantalizing temptation beckons me to walk through the door to feed a craving. My favorite is Crumbs Bake Shop. Those yummy sugary cupcakes just beg me to eat one!

These impulses train the brain to seek out food to pleasure it. The resulting poor eating habits and unhealthy lifestyle choices are partly responsible for this country’s high level of obesity and obesity-related illnesses such as Type II diabetes.

Consider some statistics from Wellness International Network Ltd.( and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (
58 million overweight Americans, 40 million obese, 3 million morbidly obese;
Eight out of 10 Americans over 25 are overweight;
78% of Americans do not meet basic-activity level recommendations;
25% of Americans are completely sedentary;
76% increase in Type II diabetes in adults 30-40 since 1990;
4% of children overweight in 1982, 16% overweight in 1994, 16.9% overweight in 2008;

Blackened jalapeño and avocado dipping sauce w/wheat chips help fill the daily snack quota. Photo from Whole Foods Market.

One in four overweight children is already showing early signs of Type II diabetes (impaired glucose intolerance), according to new study.

How the heck does NYC Healthy Chick prevent herself from becoming a stat and how can you do it, too? Will power, deprivation, locking herself in the house with no food? Heck no!

NYC Healthy Chick’s Five Tips to Empowered Healthy Eating:
1. Have three scheduled healthy balanced meals and two snacks each day. Blackened Jalapeño and Avocado Dipping Sauce with a favorite wheat chip can account for one snack. ( It is detrimental to your health and well-being to skip meals and then overeat at other times. The overeating/binging is caused by surges in blood sugar that are triggered when the body needs nourishment and doesn't get it. It’s always a good idea to eat a meal every four to six hours (an average of 250-600 calories per meal). A favorite health guru is Tosca Reno, creator of "The Eat-Clean Diet" ( Her Web site is chock-full of meal ideas.

Ah, life's liquid elixir. Photo from Quit Smoking Online.

2. Drink a minimum of 64 ounces (eight cups) of water daily. Most diseases and illnesses, including high blood pressure, are brought on by dehydration. Sorry folks – Red Bull, energy drinks, coffee, regular tea and juices don’t count. In fact, they can cause dehydration. If you must have a flavored drink, add fresh citrus fruit and berries or cucumber to water. They are super healthy, and you can eat the garnish after you finish the water.

3. Practice the 90/10 Rule. Focus on eating healthy food 90 percent of the time and what you consider to be bad the remaining 10 percent. This decreases feelings deprivation. I applied the rule as recently as last week when I discovered Bare Burger in New York City. Watch the video and see how I went crazy with healthy comfort food. (

4. Identify cravings (salt, sugar, fat). This generally indicates a nutritional imbalance and that the body is craving healthy versions of these foods. If the craving is for sugar, for example, eat a piece of fruit or try a sweet potato. ( satisfy fat cravings eat an avocado or some type of nut butter (i.e., peanut, almond). Edamame with sea salt can satisfy salt cravings. (

Edamame with sea salt always trumps salty potato chips in the health sweepstakes. Photo from Peggy's Premium.

5. Exercise three to five times per week and get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Both factors play a role in regulating the brain chemistry that can drive the brain to want to seek food all the time.

Learning new healthy habits don’t happen overnight, so be patient. It takes practice every day, as well as accountability and mindfulness. With warmer weather hopefully right around the corner, there is no better time to gather a couple of friends and create a plan to get healthy.

You'll need a new banner, too. One that reads DANGEROUS CURVES!


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VEVLYN'S PEN: The Wright take on life by Vevlyn Wright is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License .
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